LAKE DELTON, Wis. (AP) – An indoor roller coaster at a Wisconsin Dells-area resort had a faulty lap bar that opened during a ride, throwing a 63-year-old man to the concrete floor and putting him in a coma, according to a state report.
The Department of Safety and Professional Services cited four code violations on the ride at Mt. Olympus Theme Park and noted the lap bar that came open was “defective,” according to WISC-TV reports. The report notes the facility was “unaware of a bulletin issued by the manufacturer” in 2010 that required additional daily maintenance procedures for lap bars.
The state ordered the ride closed until corrective action could be taken, but Mt. Olympus Resort said in a statement that officials will permanently remove it.
Lake Delton police say Anthony Theisen fell nearly 17 feet from the roller coaster March 6. Theisen’s wife, Kay Theisen, was riding in the same coaster cart and told police her husband’s lap bar unlocked when they went around a corner, throwing him into the air.
The family’s attorney, Todd Korb, said he came out of a coma Monday.
“He’s able to recognize his wife and children,” Korb said. “He can’t speak yet though, and we don’t know the extent of his brain injury.”
The facility was found to have operated the ride above its weight capacity limit of 660 pounds. Investigators reported the total passenger weight was 720 pounds.
The Mt. Olympus statement noted findings regarding weight limitations, bulletins and the inspection of lap bars are inconsistent with what their internal investigators found.
“We will continue our own internal investigation into all aspects of the ride, including whether parts supplied by the manufacturer met specifications,” according to the company statement.
State investigators met with representatives from Mt. Olympus and the ride’s manufacturer, Zamperla, on March 25 to conduct a reenactment with dummies and sandbags positioned in the same spots. It was conducted on the 12 lap bars in the ride and “four lap bar failures” were noted.
During the reenactment, the investigators reported “the dummy in the far left seat move(d) forward and the lap bar for the far left seat open(ed) while maneuvering around turns on the roller coaster.”